Q: Where can I find out about the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) and the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank (HIPDB)?
A: There's now a guide to the data banks created just for health care practitioners. For an overview of the kind of data collected, the steps for submitting a self-query, and more useful information, download the brochure, or visit the data banks' website at www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov.
Q: Is teletherapy permitted in Colorado?
A: See the related policies on the appropriate Mental Health Program website, which strongly recommend that first contact with the client and any initial evaluations are made face-to-face for teletherapy. Links for each of the mental health "Laws, Rules and Policies" pages are provided below:
Q: Do you need a license to practice hypnotherapy?
A: If you practice hypnotherapy, you must be licensed or listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists.
Q: Are licensed or registered psychotherapists required to have malpractice insurance?
A: There is no requirement for malpractice insurance as a provider of psychotherapy services under the Colorado Mental Health Statute. However, as a practical matter, malpractice insurance is strongly advised for any psychotherapist engaged in private practice.
Q: What is the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?
A: Pursuant to §12-43-702.5, C.R.S., any registered psychotherapist is required to record their name, current address, educational qualifications, disclosure statements, therapeutic orientation or methodology, or both, and years of experience in each specialty area with the State Board of Registered Psychotherapists for inclusion in the State Database. Beginning July 1, 2011, additional mandatory disclosure requirements are also in place.
Q: If listed on the Mental Health State Database, am I eligible to take the NCE Examination?
A: No. Being listed in the Mental Health State Database does not qualify the registered person to take any mental health examination with the exception of the Jurisprudence Examination.
Q: Do volunteers for a teen crisis line need to be listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?
A: If the volunteers are providing referral and/or informational services to callers, they are not required to be listed in the State Database. A person whose primary practice is psychotherapy or who holds him or herself out to the public as being able to practice psychotherapy for compensation is required to be listed in the State Database.
Q: Is clinical supervision of licensed clinical social workers, marriage and family therapis, professional counselors or registered psychotherapists required under the Colorado Mental Health Statute?
A: Supervision is not required for registered or licensed psychotherapists in Colorado.
Q: Can a third party, someone other than a client, file a grievance against a mental health professional?
A: Yes, anyone can file a grievance against any mental health professional regulated by the Colorado Mental Health Statute provided that it is filed in good faith.
Q: If a licensed or registered psychotherapist is providing services in multiple states, who has jurisdiction over them?
A: Any state(s) that licenses or certifies the psychotherapist.
Q: How can I file a complaint against a mental health facility?
A: Contact the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Behavioral Health.
Q: Can a licensee or registered psychotherapist release the name of a client to a collection agency without the client's permission, if the client has not paid for or is in arrears for services provided?
A: Yes. However, it is considered good practice to inform the client at the outset of therapy that use of a collection service is practiced by the therapist and the name, current address, and phone number of the client may be provided to the collection agency if the client does not pay for psychotherapy services. This is frequently included in the disclosure statement provided to clients at the beginning of therapy.
Q: Are fees or fee disputes for psychotherapy services regulated by the State of Colorado?
A: No. Fees or any fee disputes between consumers and providers of psychotherapy services are not within the jurisdiction of the Mental Health Boards.
Q: Is the mandatory disclosure statement required for clients who are court ordered for therapy?
A: No. Mandatory disclosure is not required for a person seeking therapy pursuant to a court order.
Q: If a client refuses to sign the disclosure statement, is the therapist required to discontinue or terminate therapy until the statement is signed?
A: No. The therapist should note on the disclosure statement where the signature appears that the client refused to sign and indicate the date the disclosure statement was provided to the client.
Q: A 15-year-old client living with her boyfriend seeks the services of a psychotherapist because she is alleging that her boyfriend raped her. She does not want her parents to know. Is the therapist required to obtain parental permission prior to treating the client?
A: No. The client is considered emancipated because she does not reside with her parents or guardian, and may consent to mental health care (§19-1-103(45), C.R.S.).
Q: If parents have joint/shared custody of their child who is a minor, is a licensed or registered psychotherapist required to have both parents give consent to treat?
A: Often, only one parent is required to give consent for treatment, although in many cases it is considered best practice to involve both parents and to request court documents prior to the first visit for confirmation of parental decision making authority.
Q: A therapist providing couples therapy is asked by one spouse to testify in a contested divorce dispute. Is the therapist required to obtain permission from the other spouse prior to releasing information or agreeing to testify?
A: Yes. Permission to disclose confidential information about the other spouse is required.
Q: An attorney, by court, serves a psychotherapist with a subpoena duces tecum to appear at a deposition and bring records of a client suing a manufacturing firm she is representing. Is the therapist required to release such records to the attorney?
A: No. The therapist cannot release records to the attorney without a release from the client. A subpoena duces tecum is an order to appear in court or at a deposition and bring documents or records to that proceeding. It does not constitute permission to release confidential information. You may need to get a protective order from the court.
Q: What constitutes mandatory reporting?
A: If you have reasonable belief that a prohibited activity occurred and reporting would not violate client confidentiality, you are required to report to the appropriate licensing Board.
Q: Are psychologists, social workers, licensed professional counselors, marriage and family therapists, addiction counselors or registered psychotherapists required to report child abuse?
A: Yes, mental health professionals are specifically cited under the Colorado Children's Code (please refer to Title 19 of the Colorado Revised Statutes) to report child abuse; they are also required to report child abuse under the Colorado Mental Health Statute as it is considered a generally accepted standard of these professions to report child abuse.
Q: Is it permissible to accept gifts from clients?
A: This depends on the type of gift, its monetary value, and any expectations by the client associated with the gift. If there is any perceived adverse risk to the client-therapist relationship, it is advisable not to accept the gift.
Q: Are special advocates or parenting coordinators exempt from Board jurisdiction under the Colorado Mental Health Statute?
A: SB 11-187 removed the exemption previously provided in §12-43-215, C.R.S. which applied to mental health professionals acting within the scope of a court appointment to undertake custodial evaluations in domestic relations causes in the courts of this state or mental health professionals acting within the scope of a court appointment to undertake domestic and child abuse evaluations for purposes of legal proceedings within this state, effective July 1, 2011.
Q: What are rules and regulations regarding the release of records? What does a facility do with records when they close?
A: Please refer to the record-keeping rule for your profession, or for more information contact an attorney.
Q: How long are therapists required to keep client records?
A: Each Board has established its own rule with regards to record-keeping. Please refer to the appropriate Board rule for your profession:
Q: Do licensees or registered psychotherapists have a duty to report unprofessional conduct by another licensed or registered psychotherapist?
A: Yes, unless making such a report would violate a client's confidentiality (i.e. disclosing information about the client of the reporting therapist without consent of the client is prohibited).
Q: As a licensed or registered psychotherapist, am I required to disclose prior disciplinary actions against me to my clients?
A: Under the Michael Skolnik Transparency Act of 2010, reporting requirements were extended to mental health professionals who apply to renew a license, certification or registration, on or after July 1, 2011. If you have questions specific to the requirements in the Michael Skolnik Medical Transparency Act, please visit their website at www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/hppp.
Q: What are the generally accepted ethical standards of practice? Where can I find them documented for my profession?
A: Contact your local professional association found on our "Other Links" tab of the mental health homepages.
Q: Are registered psychotherapists allowed to perform general or technical psychometric testing, scoring, or interpretation of test results?
A: Yes, provided that they meet the minimum standards for testing under §12-43-228, C.R.S. and are competent in the use of those tests.
Q: Is "marriage and family counseling" a protected term reserved only for licensed marriage and family therapists?
A: No. "Marriage and Family Therapist" and "LMFT" are the only protected terms for licensed marriage and family therapists in Colorado.
Q: Can certified domestic violence counselors or certified addiction counselors, or registered psychotherapists invoke a 72-hour hold and treat order?
A: Yes, provided they have achieved the appropriate level of certification to practice independently.
Q: Can a licensed mental health provider who uses a sliding scale bill insured clients at a higher rate for psychotherapy services than they do for uninsured clients?
Q: Are licensed or registered psychotherapists required to treat clients regardless of their ability to pay?
Q: When do applicants/therapists need to be listed in the State Database of the Board of Registered Psychotherapists?
A: Pursuant to § 12-43-702.5, C.R.S., applicants not currently licensed or certified as a mental health provider in Colorado must list themselves as a registered psychotherapist in the State Database. This includes applicants/therapists who are complying with their two year experience and supervision.
Q: Legislative changes effective July 1, 2011, revised the content of the mandatory disclosure form. What are those changes and where can I find a sample of the disclosure form?
A: Revisions to the mandatory disclosure form can be reviewed in SB 11-187. A sample of the form and checklist are available on the "Professionals/Licensing Services" tabs for each of the mental health boards.